Big Grove Cemetery

This cemetery was known as the “Fetter Cemetery” for many years as it was situated on land owned by J. L. Fetter. The 1885 Plat Book of Pottawattamie County listed it as “Big Grove Cemetery.” This cemetery is located 2 miles west of Oakland on G42, lying on the south side of the road back in the field in Section 10, Township 75 N, Range 40 W.

According to Mr. G. G. Harris, Sr., a long time Trustee of Belknap Township, a young man from the nearby stage coach stop was working in the hayfield when he was bitten by a rattlesnake. Since the nearest doctor was in Council Bluffs, the young man died before he could receive medical attention. Mr. Fetter thought this small knoll was such a beautiful spot that the unknown young man should be buried here.

An article in the 1883 Pottawattamie County History Book of Belknap Township, page 320, states that “Albert Griffith of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was buried in Big Grove Cemetery in 1860. He was plowing in a field of J. L. Fetter’s with a yoke of oxen, when one of them became entangled. When the young man undertook to extricate him, he was kicked to death.” Also, “Peter S. Johns, one of the soldiers drafted from James Township, William Elliott, a soldier of the Civil War, who died while undergoing amputation of a wounded leg; an unknown emigrant of 1857, who was drowned while bathing in the Nishnabotna River, and the eldest son of J. R. Cook, who in trying to reach the Upper Botna Bridge when the river was out of its banks, missed the bridge and was drowned March 28, 1875.” All but William Elliott are unmarked graves.

About 1961, the trustee’s of Belknap Township decided they would assume the care of this small cemetery as it had not been cared for in a number of years.

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